All else aside, you really don't want to go touching your pedals on a regular basis.
Granted, I've still got dog crap on the brain (and on the bike as I haven't cleaned it yet), but who knows what you may have stepped in before putting shoe to pedal?
Meanwhile, in other news, you know how people think cyclists have a bloated sense of entitlement? Well, we've got nothing on the NYPD:
To be clear, there's absolutely nothing unusual about the NYPD parking their private cars perpendicular to the curb in bike lanes, or on the sidewalk, or really wherever the fuck they want. They do it at pretty much every station house in the city. Just try walking, riding--or driving for that matter--anywhere near one and you'll see what I mean. It's like the station house is a magnet and the cars are metal shavings. The whole area's a giant clusterfuck.Just because you graffiti/tag Schermerhorn #bikenyc lane does not make it your parking lot @CommissBratton @NYC_DOT pic.twitter.com/NiXnJ9vZVX— Joanna Oltman Smith (@jooltman) October 14, 2015
But painting reserved parking numbers right there in the bike lane? That transcends entitlement and is just a plain old "fuck you."
Given that the NYPD is the seventh largest standing army in the world, you'd think maybe the city could build them some parking garages or do something so they don't park their cars in the middle of our sidewalks and streets. Then again, the city has paid something like half a billion dollars in NYPD legal settlements since 2009, so I guess there's not much money left. Either that, or I guess if someone gets hurt because Officer Ronkonkoma parked his Civic in the crosswalk then the city would rather just settle than do anything to keep us safe in the first place.
And here's what happens when another city agency tries to offset some of that settlement money with ticket revenue:
HARLEM — A Sanitation Department worker ticketing NYPD vehicles illegally parked outside Police Service Area 6 — an issue that neighbors have complained about for years — was chased away by an NYPD patrol car, witnesses told DNAinfo New York.
Yep, you better believe Officer Ronkonkoma wasn't having any of that:
But as the worker was in the middle of ticketing the seventh vehicle shortly before 10:15 a.m., a marked police car from PSA 6 drove past the site, made a U-turn, flashed his roof lights and pulled up alongside the ticket agent, witnesses said.
After a short conversation, both vehicles drove off and no more citations were issued, leaving the approximately 13 vehicles parked illegally north of 147th Street unticketed.
So maybe the bike lane parking was just the NYPD's way of pissing on their territory after that shocking act of audacity.
But you know who's even more entitled than law enforcement? Religious people, of course! At least the police are ostensibly working for us, whereas the pious are just frittering away their weekends groveling before some imaginary homophobic patriarch in the sky. Yet the double-parking around churches on Sunday easily rivals any precinct station house, and of course "God" gives them a Divine Parking Placard that also lets them park on the sidewalk, just like the NYPD.
And New York's certainly not alone in this, for via the Tweeter I've learned that a church in Washington, D.C. is now blocking a bike lane because it will infringe their constitutional rights:
The District government is going through the rather municipally boring process of determining where to build a bike lane on the east side of downtown.
And one church has given a charged response to some proposals, saying that a bike lane near its property would infringe upon “its constitutionally protected rights of religious freedom and equal protection of the laws.”
Yep, it's true, it's right there in the First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Furthermore, no velocipedal conduit shall prohibit the people from parking their Hyundai Sonatas more than twenty (20) paces from a House of Worship.
See, you're not just guaranteed freedom of religion, you're also guaranteed the freedom to drive your lazy ass right up to the front door:
The church, represented by a lawyer, wrote in a letter to DDOT, which WashCycle blog obtained and reported on, that the proposals along Sixth Street are “unsupportable, unrealistic and particularly problematic for traffic and parking.” The church, which says it has more than 800 congregants, notes that the Convention Center is in the area, which already exacerbates traffic and parking issues. Consequently, as many car lanes and parking space as possible are needed on the street.
Of course I realize my reading of this is somewhat tainted by my own view of religion, which is basically that it's fucking stupid. I also realize that churches, temples, mosques, and what have you often play important roles in their communities by providing services the government doesn't, such as as daycare, disaster relief, and feeding the hungry--not to mention simply bringing neighbors together. However, some of this becomes moot when you consider that churches are apparently abandoning their communities because it's too difficult to park:
The parking loss would place an unconstitutionally undue burden on people who want to pray, the church argues, noting that other churches already have had to flee to the suburbs because of similarly onerous parking restrictions. The church says that DDOT lets cars park diagonally on the street during busy times, which would be seemingly impossible if a protected bike lane were on the street.
Wow. What faith. If there's a God I'd like to think He'd smite your ass for abandoning your flock for such a worldly reason. What if Jesus had employed similar logic?
("Ah, fuck it, there's no ass parking, I'm going back to Galilee."--The Lord Jesus Christ)
But sure, let's not put a bike lane in front of the church because the streets are safe enough as it is:
“As you know, bicycles have freely and safely traversed the District of Columbia throughout the 90-year history of the United House of Prayer, without any protected bicycle lanes and without infringing in the least on the United House of Prayer’s religious rights,” the letter states. “More importantly, as discussed at various points with DDOT, there is another alternative that would simply entail altering the proposed bike lane’s route by one block, such that the bike tracks would follow 6th Street to N Street for the block or two needed to avoid impacting adversely on any parking adjacent to God’s White House on 6th and M Streets.”
Not only do these churches not pay taxes, but they don't want the taxes everybody else pays making the streets safe for the actual community--and the people who are using the church are paying taxes to some other municipality:
Many of D.C.’s old churches were built at times when their neighborhoods weren’t as busy and parking wasn’t a big issue. On top of that, many longtime churchgoers in D.C. have left for the suburbs and now commute to their old churches by car.
WAIT JUST A MINUTE. I thought all the churches were moving to the suburbs. Now they're commuting into the city from the suburbs to go to church? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?
It's almost like religion is rife with hypocrisy.
By the way, lest you accuse me of singling out the Christians, let me assure you I think the other sects are equally full of it. It's just that parking is less of an issue with the Jews since they walk to temple. Instead, drivers don't like them because they fan out in the middle of the street on Shabbat:
I'm Gonna Have To Have A Talk With the Orthodox Jews In My Neighborhood
I almost hit three of them with my car as I was traveling six blocks from my house to the supermarket.
The sun had gone down and they were dressed from head to toe in the traditional ortodox black clothing. And, as they ALWAYS do, they walked in the direct MIDDLE of the street.
I turned a corner and barely saw a glimpse of skin under a few hats and above some beards. I stopped short and came within about a foot and a half of whacking them with my bumper.
It's not so bad during the day on Saturdays, because at least you can see them, even if they do slow you down because about 20 of them have to saunter out of your way.
But after dark, you'd think they'd walk on the sidewalk, wouldn't you? I mean, they often have children with them and they let their kids walk in the middle of the street too.
I'm not the most religious of jews, so if I went to the temple to complain I'm sure it would fall on deaf ears. But I'm really getting annoyed at this.
Is the walking-in-the-middle-of-the-street thing a trait that's common to all orthodox jews (I'm a very very very reform jew) or is this just happening in my neighborhood?
I don't want anyone to get hurt, so what exactly should I do?
Complain? Or just grin and bear it?
Whiny entitled motorist screed notwithstanding, it's true, they really do this. I'd like to applaud this behavior because it's a statement about how the streets belong to pedestrians as well as motorists. Sadly I can't, because that' s not what it is, and I can assure you they're driving around like total assholes the other six days of the week, just like the rest of us.
Maybe they should walk with lit menorahs on their heads.
And if nothing else, it seems fairly clear to me that as Americans we should drop all this religious sectarian nonsense, abandon all pretense, and admit that our one and only true God is the Almighty Motor Vehicle--and that anything standing in its way should be smited with No Criminality Suspected:
Lastly, sometimes mountain bikers are just sad:
Why wear a girdle with pockets when you can fit all that in a saddle bag, or else your jersey pockets if only you didn't wear those pocketless hockey shirts.
I pray for them to see the light.